Open source software, such as Firefox and Linux, is created collaboratively by a group of individuals who make the code accessible to the public to both use and enhance. Seeing the pattern of contributions to these projects can provide useful insights into the vitality of the project and the community building it. The Bloom Diagram provides a visualization of contribution activity in open source projects. At a glance, this tool can summarize the overall level of coding and discussion in a project, show which individuals are the recent key contributors, and allow comparisons across multiple projects.
In the example shown here the Bloom Diagram is being used to study Sourceforge.net, one of the most popular open source community sites. The upper left portion provides summary statistics about the project while the timeline shows the state of the project at different points in time. Users can also play an animation of the activity over time from this timeline. Keyboard controls are also available to let users zoom in, out, and pan around the screen.
When the user moves the timeline slider, animated bubbles appear in the inner or outer ring. A bubble in the inner ring represents a code event, while a bubble in the outer ring indicates a comment event. The bubble position as it animates provides a cue about the frequency and recency of the event, while the thickness of the rings give a clear sense of the overall proportion of coding to commenting activity in this project.